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Today on my blog, I’m sharing my top 7 tips for buying furniture for your first apartment. If you’re anything like me, then you are SUPER overwhelmed when it comes to buying apartment furniture. There are so many websites, and it’s hard to know how much money to spend — and on WHAT!
I put together this guide for you, based on my own experience buying thousands of dollars in apartment furniture in the last year!!
Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment
Before diving in for this post, I want to be clear about a few things. First thing, I am a few years into my career, so I am comfortable spending a bit more money for quality. Buuuut I also know that apartment furniture gets damaged in moves, so I didn’t want to go ALL OUT in investing in pieces.
Not all of these tips will apply to EVERYONE, but I think this post will help a good number of people!
Additionally, something I’ve realized when shopping for apartment furniture is that it’s a BIG investment, and most furniture has a low resale value. When I first started buying and researching furniture for my apartment, I had this idea that I could “earn money back” when I resold my apartment furniture for a move.
But that’s noooooot how furniture resale works. Further on down, I talk about how I learned about the SUPER LOW resale value of apartment funriture — and what I did about it.
This insight has helped me be more judicious in buying used vs new.
Tip #1 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Start with Pinterest
Before we get excited about buying furniture for your first apartment, we have to PLANNNNN, my friend!!
When trying to figure out apartment decor, plan furniture, etc, I recommend starting with a Pinterest board. I have a pretty organized Pinterest board setup for my apartment, using sub-boards to organize by room. I have an apartmentd decor sub-board for my kitchen, office, living room, fashion studio, entryway, etc etc. This made it WAY easier for me to plan.
This made my life MUCH easier. I even have a sub-board dedicated to “apartment aesthetic and colors” so I can see the trends in what I like. That board is actually what led me to buying a zebra print rug from Rugs USA, because I realized I loved how a faux zebra hide rug looked in photos!
Tip #2 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Shop on Strategic Days
Next up on my list of furniture buying tips for your first apartment is to shop strategically, specifically, shopping on certain dates. Throughout the year, furniture companies have sales on SPECIFIC DATES in the USA, and I’ve found it’s worth it to wait for these sales!
Here are a few sales to watch out for:
- Wayfair Yearly Sale – End of April
- Memorial Day – May
- Amazon Prime Day – July
- Labor Day- September
- Black Friday – 4th Friday in November
I keep a “Favorites list” on each of my fave apartment furniture apps. I put a reminder in my phone to check in on those apps and purchase furniture. Normally, I’m not much of a “couponer,” as I value my time more than money (I’m a business owner, so that’s why! Not trying to be a snob!). But, I’ve saved literally HUNDREDS of dollars (probably at least a grand by now, I think) waiting for special sale days.
Bonus Tip: Many furniture websites sell the exact same furniture, but for different prices. I recommend copying and pasting the whole furniture name into Google Shopping to compare prices. Put another way, you’ll copy the furniture name and paste it into Google Shopping (go to google.com and click the “Shopping” tab). When you do this, Google will pull data from different brands.
^^ It’s important to know that companies PAY to be on Google Shopping, so not all brands will be listed. BUT, you can test drive spokio, a furniture tech startup that pulls data from different websites to give you the best price.
OH AND ONE MORE THING! You can *save* the product image to your computer and upload to Google Image Search. Companies often use the same product images, so this can be a good way to price compare as well.
Tip #3 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Go Slow
When I first moved into my apartment, I thought I’d get allll my furniture within 2-3 months.
Boy, was I wrong!!!
It’s going to take you some time to find pieces, put together rooms and learn different interior design tips. That’s ok! There’s no timeline for this. A year in at my new place, and I’m still purchasing furniture. It takes time to deliberate, buy, set up furniture, etc. It’s not an overnight process!
Buying furniture on Facebook Marketplace made me less stressed about this, because I realized I was 1) saving money and 2) I could resale a piece for the same price on FB Marketplace. This made me less worried about making the “wrong choice” or buying something I disliked in the long run.
Tip #4 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Use Facebook Marketplace
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit it — I was more than a bit of a snob about buying furniture on Facebook Marketplace. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of FB Marketplace, was nervous about going to the homes of people I don’t know, and was also worried about the quality of furniture.
Friends, I am now SINGING A MUCH DIFFERENT TUNE.
One day, I was just derping around on my phone, and I decided to go checkout Facebook Marketplace. It was a freaking GAME CHANGER. It took a while for the Facebook algorithm to figure out what I wanted and my style, but once it did – BOY HOWDY! A freakin’ party.
In my area in Utah, I have realized that people often sell BRAND NEW ITEMS on Facebook marketplace. A couple of months ago, I bought an end table for my apartment living room that was still in the box. TOTALLY WILD EXPERIENCE. The guy brought it out in its original packaging. They had purchased the furniture piece on a whim and missed the return window.
I have also seen a number of pieces that are currently for sale, so I recommend checking Facebook Marketplace before purchasing. Before buying anything at IKEA, I make sure to search the name on Facebook Marketplace. Lots of people buy from IKEA!
A few extra Facebook Marketplace Tips:
- Look up the furniture piece on google, and see how much it costs. If you can’t find it, ask the seller for the brand name. Never pay more than 60% of the retail price for a furniture piece, even if it’s in the box! Reason being, you can’t get a warranty on FB Marketplace
- If you’re on a tight budget, make an offer for 10-20% less than what the seller has posted. Facebook has a feature where you can send an offer.
- Be ready to move ASAP. Most people who post on FB Marketplace want the furniture item gone that day or weekend. I only send offers if I’m ready to *literally* get in my car within the hour to go pick something up.
Finally, as I shared above, I think Facebook Marketplace is a great option, because the resale value of most furniture is SUPER LOW. Seeing what furniture was selling for online made me a bit more determined to try to buy stuff through FB Marketplace, because I may end up having to sell quite a bit of my furniture when I move in the future!
Items to look for on Facebook Marketplace:
- Desks and office chairs
- Dining Tables and dining chairs
- Coffee & End Tables
I haven’t had as much in my area buying patio or apartment balcony furniture (tips on privacy hacks for an apartment balcony here), accent chairs, or rugs. I am leery of buying couches used.
Tip #5 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Don’t Split Furniture Costs with Roommates
When buying apartment furniture for a first apartment, folks often “go half” with roommates or folks they’re living with. This can make a move out process tense and awkward.
If you do do this, write down what your plan is if someone decides to move out. What will they take with them? Will the other person or people buy them out? Literally write it down when you buy the piece, so you can save your future self from a hard conversation.
Instead of dealing with that conversation, I recommend that you buy pieces in full. That way, when someone moves out it’s clear what belongs to who.
Tip #6 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Get the Warranty and READ the Dang Warranty!!!
When buying furniture new for an apartment, I really recommend getting the warranty and reading it in full. Definitely read the warranty before filing a claim. Using specific words or language can invalidate your warranty, and many companies… encourage you to use that language on the phone, so you don’t get to use your furniture warranty.
Tip #7 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Check out Home Goods
Let’s talk about one of my favorite places to buy furniture for my apartment!
Maybe it’s my corner of the internet, but I don’t see a lot of folks talking about what a GEM Home Goods is. This store often has SUPER cute furniture items. When I first started furniture shopping, my friend Suma told me, “Go to the more conservative towns in your state and shop at *their* Home Goods. There will be a ton of stuff the boring people don’t want!” And Suma was SO RIGHT.
I’ve purchased lamps, an ottoman, nightstand, and other decor at Home Goods. 10/10 recommend. I wrote a whole post on Home Goods with tips here.
Bonus Tip: Some folks really like At Home. I’m more of a Home Goods gal, but I did find my apartment patio furniture at At Home!
Tip #8 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: AfterPay & Affirm
Ok, so I debated including this next apartment furniture buying tip, but I’ve decided to include it. I’ve purchased a few things using AfterPay and Affirm for my apartment, honestly planning to review the platforms on my blog.
Overall, I think if you are responsible and judicious with your credit, then this can be a great option. I bought my couch using Affirm, and a planter for my patio using AfterPay. I have the rule that I don’t use these platforms unless I have the full pay-off amount in my account. It can be easy to get upside with credit and personal finance!! I wrote about how I messed up my credit score here, so don’t make my same mistakes!
Tip #9 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Make an Amazon Wish List
I shared this apartment furniture buying tip in my post on 100+ Items You Need for Your First Apartment HERE, but I wanted to share this tip again – because it’s so good!
When you move into a new place, I recommend creating an Amazon Wishlist, with items you plan on purchasing with yourself. Share this list with friends and family, so they can get you a housewarming gift. I did this in 2021, when I first moved in, and I was floored by peopler’s generosity. I kept my wish list to mostly items that were under $25, a few at $50 and a few at $100. Because folks bought so many small items for me, this freed up my apartment furniture budget to buy big pieces.
Tip #10 Buying Furniture for Your First Apartment: Get Furniture Delivered to Your Door
After buying a number of large pieces from IKEA, I have learned it’s 100% worth it forme to pay for delivery. Carrying cumbersome boxes up to your apartment door can be a huge hassle and take a lot of time. When possible, get furniture delivered. (You can also hire someone on Thumbtack to transport your furniture, if delivery isn’t an option.)
More First Apartment Tips
I’ve written a lot about my first apartment, and I’ve put together a few guides, based on my experience! Here are a few:
- 7 Apartment Balcony Privacy Screen Ideas
- 10 Tips for Shopping at Home Goods – What to Buy
- How to Plan Your First Apartment Move
- 100+ SUPER Important Items to Buy For your First Apartment
- My Fave Green Tufted Velvet Couches